Federal government proposes changes designed to drop cost of patented drugs

The federal government says it is proposing changes to patented medicine regulations in the first major update in more than two decades.

Health Canada says the potential changes, which are aimed at reducing drug prices, include a revised list of countries Canada can use when comparing patented drug prices.

They also include new factors the Patented Medicine Prices Review Board can take into consideration when assessing whether a drug price is excessive.

The board _ a quasi-judicial body operating at arm's length from the Health Department _ is designed to provide a vehicle for informing consumers about patented medicine prices.

The government's suggested changes were posted today in the Canada Gazette, the publication considered to be the government's newspaper.

One of the proposed amendments includes a requirement that companies report all cost reductions to allow the review board to consider this information when setting price ceilings.